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Abstract

An operational program to develop and disseminate probabilistic outlook information for agricultural commodities would allow decision makers to better comprehend the degree of uncertainty associated with future prices. While there are psychological limitations to the estimation or probabilities, this is a skill that can be taught and developed, particularly among experienced forecasters such as outlook specialists. Techniques are available for eliciting probabilities, and weather forecasting experience demonstrates that experts can quantify probabilities in a reliable manner. The components of a program to develop and disseminate outlook probabilities should include a survey of user needs, training programs for participating outlook specialists, and user educational programs. Further research is needed to develop elicitation techniques, and to evaluate costs and benefits.

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